he listed entertainment firm, along with joint venture partner Belle Corp. led by the Sy mall and banking conglomerate, is also in talks with two more casino operators, an executive said last week.
“[Talks with Planet Hollywood are] the most advanced,” Alfredo B. Benitez, outgoing president of Leisure and Resorts World, told reporters after the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Ortigas Center. It would be the first casino operation of Planet Hollywood in Asia, Benitez said.
Harrah’s Entertainment records us$ 10.8 billion in revenues yearly through 50 casinos under the brands Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s, Horseshoe and Rio. “[The other two casino operators] have a presence already in Asia like in Macau and Singapore,” he said, refusing to name them, citing confidentiality agreements. “We are not really in a rush to decide [on the operator],” Benitez said.
Under a five-year development plan, Belle and Leisure and Resorts will spend us$ 350 million for the casino complex along Manila Bay in Roxas Boulevard. Phase one of the construction will include a casino and VIP suites with 100 units. About 500 hotels rooms will follow.
The joint venture partners are aiming to open the casino late next year. The casino, which will have 250 tables and 1,500 slot machines, will be the largest in the Philippines, Benitez claimed. “The Philippines is very poor in junket [tour] operations. With the advent of this kind of project and investment, we would like to hold a very big share of junket operations,” Mr. Benitez said.
Belle subsidiary Premium Leisure & Amusement was one of four groups given a license by state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to develop the 800-hectare Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City Manila. The government wants to lure 10 million foreign visitors to the “Pagcor City” through new hotel, leisure and entertainment establishments.
Meanwhile, profits are expected to grow by 15% to 20% this year to us$ 5.3 million, Benitez said. Leisure and Resorts World generates income from electronic and “traditional” bingo operations. On Friday, the company declared an eight-centavo cash dividend, up from six cents last year, as it netted 40% higher net income to us$ 884,051 in the first quarter.